It was a running out the door like the house is on fire type of morning.
School! Come on! No Mickey, we’ll watch him later! We’ll watch him later! Bye Mickey! Let’s go! Shoes! Coats! Yes, coats! Yes, coats! Yes, I said coats! Mommy said we have to wear coats! It’s cold again. It’s cold. Yes, brrr. Yes, like ice scream. No ice scream. No orange coat, it’s too heavy. It’s too heavy! No–fine, you want to wear this coat? This, what is this, a rain coat? (mumbling, it’s not raining but whatever). Whatever. Fine. Fine! To the car, let’s go! Let’s go! Everybody to mommy’s car! Everybody to mommy’s car! Put the bubbles down. We don’t need the bubbles. Where did you get the bubbles? Whatever we can’t bring the bubbles to school! Down. Down. Out of the mouth. Come on let’s go. Let’s go! March! March! March…
In our very own predictable schedule, like something Bill Murray would have timed in “Groundhog Day,” I have our route to school down to a science. The absolute latest we can leave the house without being late is 9:08. We make it to Main Street by 9:11. I like to be by the light at Mill Pond at 9:12. By 9:14, we need to be turning left when we will pass Sheets Creek and I will say, each and every time, “look, guys, Sheets Creek! Like, up ‘sheets creek,'” nudge, nudge. (Did the ye olde creek-namers not hear that?!) 9:15, voile, we pull into the parking lot of school.
I was up late last night working on a story for the paper. Your dad wasn’t home, out late at another dinner. This morning while pouring my coffee in my to-go cup I had the thought, I need a bigger cup. Like the line from “Jaws,” we’re going to need a bigger boat, I knew this morning, we’re going to need more coffee.
So we finally made it out the door and into the car and were in our driving-to-school routine, and you guys were in your own routine, too, calling out the same flowers in the shoe store window, the ducks by the pond, the trucks doing construction.
I was blasting 80’s music with the windows cracked, letting in gusts of cool air. “We Got the Beat” by the Go Go’s perfectly matched our pace: Fast.
…I dropped you off and took the last sip of my coffee, in shock that it was finished already and thinking, I definitely need to get a bigger cup. I drove off and changed the channel. Ray LaMontagne’s “Hold You in My Arms” came on. I lowered the volume, because it seemed right. And I drove in the new quiet.
It feels like things have been crazy lately. Snowballing. What, you may ask, what has been so much? And it’s like, I don’t know, just things! Life! Stuff. Your dad keeps asking me if I’m okay. In fact everyone asks me if I’m okay. Family, friends. Am I okay?
So I’m driving in the car by myself and this song comes on. And I take in the words, I could hold you in my arms, I could hold you forever. (And he says it again.) I could hold you in my arms, I could hold you forever.
And I think about you guys and how I can’t wait to see you and hold you again, press your soft cheeks up to mine. How I could hold you in my arms forever. And I smile at that thought.
And all the stuff just goes away and there I am, driving…
La di da.